Seltos, a key strategic model for Kia Motors, made a debut in India. The Kia Seltos is a next-generation compact SUV for the fast-growing global SUV market. Highly anticipated even in Korea, Seltos is Kia’s first step into the Indian market, and it premiered successfully onto the Indian market scene.
Kia Motors selected India to reveal Seltos, because India is rapidly emerging as the next major automotive center of the world. Kia Motors signed an investment agreement for an Indian auto production plant in 2017, which is now the Anantapuri Plant boasting a production capacity for 300,000 units. The Anantapur Plant started trial production of Seltos in January this year and is slated to be fully operational in the latter half of 2019.
Kia marked its entry into the Indian market with a world premier event for the Seltos, and plans to follow suit with its other models including Sportage, Rio, Stonic, Soul, Ceed, Picanto, and Stinger. Kia aims to join India’s top five car brands by 2021.
India aims to be the global center for auto production
India’s rapid growth as an emerging car market has been drawing worldwide attention. India is fifth only to China, the U.S., Japan, and Germany for auto production volume. The 2018 report by International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) showed that 51.7 million units were built in India, with an 8% growth over the previous year. India is fully behind its Automotive Mission Plan 2016-2026, a tailored policy for the auto industry to become one of the world’s top three auto industry power.
Demand for compact cars remain relatively high in India for economical and practical reasons, but premium hatchbacks and compact SUVs have been making headway since last year. A major reason for this market shift toward more premium options is the Zippies. The expression Zippies was coined as a reference to the younger and more adventurous urban Indians who prefer zippered outfits over traditional clothing. They are the generation that grew out of India’s rapid economic development and are characterized by high levels of education, modern thought, and active consumption. It was their entry into the consumer market that led to growing sales in compact SUV, as the automobile that best fit their lifestyle.
Compact SUVs welcomed in the Indian market
India is the battle stage for compact SUVs. Currently, compacts account of about 70% of SUVs sold in India, and global auto makers are rushing to the stage with offerings of compact SUVs. Among them, Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Honda WR-V, and Tata Nexon have been popular flagship models in India. In all, about 15 different compact SUV models, including the Hyundai Creta, Renault Duster, and Mahindra XUV300, are competing in the market.
It is into this furious battle that Seltos threw in a gauntlet. Seltos was first revealed at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018 (as a pre-production SP signature concept car). Kia Motors officially declared its entrance into the Indian auto market with a compact SUV named Seltos, the same as in Korea. Seltos is the first Kia car manufactured in India, made to appeal to the active and vibrant young generation of India, but also to get its feet wet and test for future developments in India’s future market.
Seltos’ name captures a dynamic image
Kia Motors plans to have the compact SUV available in major markets around the world under the same name, offering the very same excellence in design, performance, safety, and convenience. The name Seltos is inspired by Greek mythology of ‘Celtos’, the son of Hercules, with the S added to the name implying speed and sportiness.
Seltos is the spearhead of Kia’s strategy for the global SUV market. From development, it was been intended to be a high-class compact SUV that delivers audacious styles and emotional appeal. The design features Kia’s distinctive tiger grille, as well as bold and fine design details such as dimensional headlamps that pop and distinctly placed DRLs (Daytime Running Lamps). Seltos also delivers an enjoyable driving experience in a cabin space larger than in-class competition while packing performance and practicality. It is expected to resonate with the younger Indian consumers who enjoy a freer, more mobile lifestyle.
Kia Motors’ global market strategy is to glocalize preferred designs and convenience specifications for a target market. Kia Motors aims to release the Seltos in the Korean market this July, with India and various global destinations in the second half of 2019.
Indian consumers’ response to Kia’s announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Earlier this March, a campaign video revealed design themes to an audience that recorded 3 billion views and a five-fold increase in related searches online.
Kia Seltos tosses its gauntlet into the India market
The world’s fastest growing Indian market is where Seltos plans to prove its worth. Much interest surrounds the Seltos as it is intended as a key flag-bearer as Kia Motors grows globally. As India’s first Kia, Seltos boasts superior value to its in-class peers and comes with enough reasons to dominate the Indian auto market.